Lincoln’’s doings December 6, 1859

With the speech of Monday afternoon, December 5, Mr. Lincoln closed his public efforts in Kansas, but remained over the next day to witness the election, and obtain all the latest reports.   The three counties in which he had appeared were Doniphan, Atchison and Leavenworth.  In all these he succeeded in arousing and consolidating the Republicans, so that, although the trio of counties were considered hopelessly Democratic, the two first-mentioned (Doniphan and Atchison) wheeled into the Republican line. 

Leavenworth correspondence of the The New York Tribune, August 30, 1860.

December   TUESDAY  6   1859

      At Home —- very cold  

day, Thermometer 5 or 10

below zero. —- Election      

day of State Officers & c.        

—- moved my office        

 from Shawnee Street to  

 S.E. Cor. Deleware & 2nd

 Sts. with Esq. S.B. Williams

  —- Quite a Row at the        

Polls of 1st Ward in the

Evening. considerable confusion                

 —- This is the Sixth election

since I came to the            

 city 2 RR 1 constitution          

 1 Municipal  1 Territorial    

 1 State


The territorial election was held the next day and Mr. Lincoln remained in Kansas as an observer .  Although Kansas Republicans won the local elections, Mr. Lincoln failed to advance his own ambitions in Kansas with his visit.  Historian John G. Clark wrote that Mark “Delahay was using to advantage whatever influence he possessed to secure the senate seat.  Lincoln complied with Delahay’s request and visited Kansas late in 1859. He was ably chaperoned by Delahay and spoke at several of the leading settlements.  But it is unfair to accuse Delahay, as most authorities are prone to do, of merely using Lincoln to enhance his own prestige.  While this is true in part, the fact remains that Delahay felt a certain sense of loyalty to his patron.  Lincoln held this trait in high esteem fortunately, for it was one characteristic which Delahay had to offer.”

Abraham Lincoln’s Classroom

In 1856 Mr. Wollman erected a fine residence near the corner of Fifth & Cherokee, west side, when the ground in all that region was covered with hazel brush, and there were no buildings near.  In 1867 he erected a splendid residence on Osage, between Third and Fourth streets, which he has ornamented and made one of the most beautiful places in the city, still occupied by himself and family.

In 1856 Jonas purchased land on Cherokee Street between Fifth and Sixth, where he built the family home.  For his business, he rented property on Cherokee between Second and Third.  In 1858, he built on Delaware Street (between Second and Third) the city’s first three-story brick building.  Early Leavenworth city directories listed Jonas as a pawnbroker, but from 1862 on he was described as a clothier.

As business changed, he changed his base of operations and removed to Delaware Street, corner of Fourth, and from there to the corner of Fifth, where he is now located.

In December, 1859, Abraham Lincoln spent four days in Leavenworth and had dinner at the Wollman home.  While there, he cradled young Henry Wollman in his arms.  Betty was impressed by Mr. Lincoln’s quiet and positive manner, and when he left she commented to her husband, “There is a great man, and I tell you that someday he will be President of the United States.”  She repeated her prediction to others, but no one took her seriously.

Abraham Lincoln Comes To Dinner to Andrew Reach’s great great great uncles house Jonas Wollman 1859 In Leavenworth Kansas, Part 1.

All this goes far to explain why Lincoln, who so vigorously opposed the spread of slavery into Kansas, sat down to dinner with the Wollmans on his visit to Leavenworth.   Some sources claim that he dined with them and another local Jewish merchant family, Simon and Amalia Abeles, at the Delahay home.   Others insist that it was the Wollmans themselves who hosted the dinner for Lincoln.   Family lore holds that Betty Wollman was deeply impressed with Lincoln and predicted, when he departed, that someday the “great Man” would “be President of the United States.”   It likewise recalls that Lincoln cradled the Wollmans’ sixteen-month-old son, Henry, in his arms. 

Lincoln and the Jews: A History

By Jonathan D. Sarna, Benjamin Shapell

The traceable history of the Wollman family commences with Jonas
Wollman (March 3, 1824-October 9, 1905), a Jewish merchant hailing from
Kempen, Germany, who arrived in New York on July 1, 1851.  Moving to St.
Louis, he married Betty Kohn (1836/1838-1927), the daughter of Jewish
immigrants from Bohemia.  They settled in Leavenworth in 1855 when Kansas
was convulsed by clashes between abolitionists and slavery advocates.  (The
Wollmans narrowly missed being assaulted by mobs.)  Becoming a naturalized
citizen in 1858, Jonas built the city’s first three-story brick building on Delaware
Street which housed his clothing store.  In the ensuing decades, he became a
prominent citizen in Leavenworth (Abraham Lincoln had dinner at his home in
1859).  He served in the Kansas State Militia during the Civil War, and launched
the city’s first Reform congregation where he served as its vice president.  Retiring
in 1888, Jonas moved to Kansas City and purchased a house at 720 West 11th
Street.  Following his death in 1905, Betty moved to New York and resided in a
twenty-two room apartment at 1 West 70th St (where several of her children lived
after retirement) until her death on December 25, 1927.

Jonas and Betty had eight children who had distinguished lives: Rosa (July
17, 1856- November 30, 1912) married Albert Hess, the president of the Wichita
Wholesale Grocery Company; Henry (August 9, 1858- March 13, 1936), the first
president of the Kansas Lodge of the Free Sons of Israel, was a lawyer who
served as the U.S. Commissioner for Missouri and on the Jackson County Circuit
Court; Morton (January 1, 1863- July 11, 1924) worked as a management
assistant for his brother William’s firm; Etta (June 15, 1865-December 2, 1933)
married Siegfried Bienenstok, who ran a family fur business; William (September
28, 1867- March 27, 1937) was a stock broker involved in philanthropy; Kate 

(December 5, 1869- October 15, 1955) helped launch H & R Block and donated
funds for the Wollman Memorial Rink in 1950, then the largest outdoor skating
rink in the world; Benjamin (January 20, 1872- May 1, 1934) worked for his
brother Henry’s law firm and participated in the organization of Standard Oil’s
Kansas branch; and Lillian (April 6/18 1875-May 6, 1895) died of unknown
causes at the age of 20. 

“Jonas and Betty (Kohn) Wollman and Their Descendants,” by. Joan F. Curran.